Carnival cruise passengers sue seeking $5,000 a month for life

marinelink.com
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A group of passengers suing Carnival cruise lines for damages after an engine fire left their ship adrift for days are asking the company to pay $5,000 a month for the rest of their lives for medical bills and mental anguish.


A lawsuit brought by 33 passengers of the ill-fated 2013 voyage could change how cruise lines insulate themselves from legal actions, according to maritime legal experts.

A second pending lawsuit with three-times as many plaintiffs has the potential to further undo the advantageous legal position cruise lines have long enjoyed.

Both cases stem from a February 2013 incident when the Carnival Triumph broke down after launching from Galveston, Texas for what was to be a four-day cruise with a stop in Cozumel, Mexico.

A fire broke out in the ship's engine room as it was returning from Cozumel. The Triumph was left without engine power, or air conditioning and working toilets. Stalled in the Gulf of Mexico for five days, passengers described human waste seeping into hallways, and being forced to sleep on deck under makeshift tarps with no cooked food.

A federal judge in South Florida last week finished hearing three weeks of testimony from passengers and is expected to issue a judgment in the next two months.

The Miami lawsuit is the first from the Triumph incident to go to trial, with others in preparation, according maritime lawyers.

In a statement, Carnival Corp said that while it recognizes its guests experienced uncomfortable conditions, everyone returned safely and were provided with a full refund, a free future cruise and an additional $500 per person.

"This is an opportunistic lawsuit brought by plaintiff's counsel and plaintiffs who seek to make a money grab," a company spokeswoman said.

One of the plaintiffs, Debra Oubre, 59, said she has experienced panic and anxiety attacks since the cruise, and also blames the experience for a urinary tract infection.

"It was chaotic. People were in dire need of help," said Oubre. "We were standing in line for food for five hours."

Federal judge Donald Graham has already ruled that the engine catching on fire is proof alone of negligence on the part of Carnival, a significant blow for the cruise line, according to Robert Peltz, a Miami maritime lawyer.

"It would seem rather obvious that ships shouldn't just catch fire and then have fire suppression systems that don't work," Peltz said.

Carnival has since started a fleet-wide "enhancement," including a major re-wiring of its engine rooms and improvements to fire safety and emergency power features.

Cruise lines like Carnival have successfully inoculated themselves against passenger lawsuits by printing stringent terms on their tickets that require passengers to waive their right to a class-action lawsuit.

Graham's ruling, which is expected to come in the next two months, could find the terms of conditions printed on the tickets, so-called "contracts of adhesion," to be overreaching.

The contracts have rankled some federal judges in southern Florida where several cruise lines are based, according to maritime lawyer, David Neblett. The splintering of myriad cruise cases for relatively meager sums clogs their calendars, he said.

One term of the ticket contract is that passengers can only bring their cases to the Southern District of Florida and plaintiffs lawyers complain that people coming from other states to litigate is too costly for them.

 

By David Quiñones

Maritime Reporter February 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

OTC Names Technology Award Winners

The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), which takes place May 4-7 in Houston, has announced 17 technologies that will receive the Spotlight on New Technology SM Award.

Jack W. Fisher Passes Away at 73

Jack W Fisher, president of JW Fishers Mfg. passed away at home after a brief illness on February 20, 2015. He was 73 years old.   The JW Fishers business was started because Fisher,

Piracy Still a Big Threat in the Indian Ocean

Underestimating the security risk in the Indian Ocean could put ships in danger once again, says maritime security company MAST Ltd.   “Whilst recent reports

Legal

Cruise Line Agrees to $500K Settlement for Disguising Sales Calls as Political Surveys

Caribbean Cruise Line Inc. has agreed to a $7.73 million settlement after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 10 state attorney generals sued the Fort Lauderdale-based

USCG Petty Officer Convicted, Sentenced

A Coast Guardsman was convicted and sentenced during a General Court-Martial in New Orleans, Thursday. Petty Officer 2nd Class Leonel Hinojosa, 32, was sentenced to reduction to E-1,

Hapag-Lloyd Warn About Verification by German Customs

Hapag-Lloyd has informed that for all import cargo to be discharged at the German ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven the carrier is responsible to send a complete

Cruise Ship Trends

Cruise Line Agrees to $500K Settlement for Disguising Sales Calls as Political Surveys

Caribbean Cruise Line Inc. has agreed to a $7.73 million settlement after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 10 state attorney generals sued the Fort Lauderdale-based

More MERUS Rings for MS Rotterdam

Pronomar has installed two additional MERUS rings on board Holland America Line’s MS Rotterdam, this time in the wellness area for the steam generators.   The

Holland America Line Heads NOAA's List of Weather Observations

Holland America Line topped the list in 2014 for the World’s Leading Weather Observing Cruise Ship Companies who submitted weather information to the National

Finance

Global LNG-Asia Prices Creep Higher on Japanese Demand

Asian spot liquefied natural gas prices edged higher as scattered demand from Japanese buyers and others helped stem the recent decline in prices, traders said on Friday.

Drop in Cocoa Bean Size Worries Ivorian Exporters

Dry weather in top cocoa grower Ivory Coast has caused a sharp drop in bean size and will delay the start of the April-to-September mid-crop by nearly two months,

Wärtsilä, CME Offer ‘Scrubber Finance’

Funding concept promotes installation of scrubber systems by offering financing to shipowners, with returns taken from fuel price spread   In a move intended

Marine Power

First LNG-powered EcoLiner Launched

Europe’s greenest inland vessel debuts Damen group innovations   Damen Shipyards Group launched the first LNG-powered Damen EcoLiner inland shipping tanker

Wärtsilä, CME Offer ‘Scrubber Finance’

Funding concept promotes installation of scrubber systems by offering financing to shipowners, with returns taken from fuel price spread   In a move intended

CTruk OWSV Enhanced with Volvo IPS

Since the launch of its first-of-class CTruk MPC22 late last year, the East Anglia-based workboat designer and builder informs it has incorporated performance feedback

Casualties

IACS Comments on MOL Comfort Report

The International Association of Classifications Societies (IACS) informs it will study the final report issued in Japan by the Committee on Large Container Ship Safety (CLCSS),

USCG Petty Officer Convicted, Sentenced

A Coast Guardsman was convicted and sentenced during a General Court-Martial in New Orleans, Thursday. Petty Officer 2nd Class Leonel Hinojosa, 32, was sentenced to reduction to E-1,

Vancouver Container Fire Closes Port

A large portion of Canada's biggest port was shut down on Wednesday after a chemical fire broke out amid numerous shipping containers piled up in a yard east of Vancouver's downtown core.

Maritime Safety

Jack W. Fisher Passes Away at 73

Jack W Fisher, president of JW Fishers Mfg. passed away at home after a brief illness on February 20, 2015. He was 73 years old.   The JW Fishers business was started because Fisher,

Piracy Still a Big Threat in the Indian Ocean

Underestimating the security risk in the Indian Ocean could put ships in danger once again, says maritime security company MAST Ltd.   “Whilst recent reports

St. Lawrence Seaway Opening Date Pushed Back

Tthe opening date for the St. Lawrence Seaway 2015 navigation season has been delayed following review and consideration of factors and conditions affecting safe

People in the News

Jack W. Fisher Passes Away at 73

Jack W Fisher, president of JW Fishers Mfg. passed away at home after a brief illness on February 20, 2015. He was 73 years old.   The JW Fishers business was started because Fisher,

Tor Svensen: Europe Must Drive Maritime Sector

Europe has a major role to play in driving the maritime industry forward, said Tor Svensen, CEO of DNV GL – Maritime, in his keynote speech on innovation at the European Shipping Week in Brussels.

Statoil: Johan Castberg, Snorre 2040 Timelines Changed

The licensees in the Johan Castberg and Snorre 2040 licences have decided to spend more time on the projects. “Castberg and Snorre 2040 are two major and important projects in our portfolio,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Repair
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.3323 sec (3 req/sec)